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Question : #500 Category: Zakaat & Khums
Subject: Hajj finance question
Question: Salamu alaykum,

I recently graduated school with $80,000 (U.S) taken out for school loans which I currently am trying to pay back. I have talked to some scholars that say as long as your savings do not exceed your loans, then you are not obligated to pay khums at this time. for instance, if I managed to save $5,000 this year (which I plan to use to insha'Allah go to Hajj), but am still in debt $80,000, then how does that work, is it possible i still have to pay 20% of that $5,000 (~$1000) even though i am in debt much greater? Thank you!
Answer: Bismillah

Salaam Alaikum. Inshallah all is well. Since there are in certain issues differences amongst the Maraji', it's best if the Marja' is verified. Since many people follow either Ayatullah Khamenei or Ayatullah Sistani, I'll provide their views. If your Marja' is someone else, I can look their fatwa up once you provide their name.
According to both Ayatullah Khamenei and Ayatullah Sistani:
Having debt, in and of itself, isn't a reason for one's savings to be exempt. Rather, only if one pays off their debt, entirely or partially, the payment will be exempt from khums.
There is only one exception to this, according to Ayatullah Sistani. He believes, if the debt is related to the expenses of the year in which you've earned a certain some, you can deduct the debt from the savings of that particular year. So if one has a debt from previous years and now they save money from this years earnings, the debt cannot be deducted from this year's savings.
Keep me in your prayers.

Fee Amanillah

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